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Why this small business owner does not support Joe Hockey’s federal budget

Mark Fletcher
August 8th, 2014 · 24 Comments

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey sounded pathetic earlier this week when he moaned about poor support from business for the government’s budget.

Hockey has been reported as complaining that businesses and business groups need to support the budget more.

I own several small businesses and I do not support the budget. Here’s why:

The budget is based on a lie. There is deficit calamity. When you compare Australia to other OECD nations – indeed any developed world comparison – our budget, including its deficit – is healthy. Indeed, external assessments by respected commentators and authorities rate the fiscal health of Australia as handed over to the new government as excellent.

The budget argues against itself. Giving a quarter of a billion dollars to religious education and millions to free marriage counselling is the government interfering where it should not, engaging is exactly what it said governments should not do.

The budget does not fix what the government claims it fixes. The budget and the forward estimates do nothing to address the deficit.

The budget is unfair. Reducing money for those most vulnerable and increasing money for those least vulnerable is unfair. The GP co-payment is a dog-whistle in my view. The argument abut medical research is nonsense.

The budget continues our wasteful fear campaign. The billions spent by Labour and the even higher abounds spent by the conservatives on offshore processing and ‘protecting’ our borders bakes the worldwide refugee problem worse and not better in my view.

The politicians are out of touch. Preparedness to spend billing on paid parental leave is proof of this as is the spending under Liberal and Labour on VIP jets shows how little they want to connect with common folk.

I see next to nothing in the budget for small business and nothing whatsoever to encourage optimism in Australia.

Small businesses benefit most from spending by everyday Australians. I can;t see anything in this budget that will encourage everyday Australians to spend more.

We elect governments to lead and sure they will pick policies and spending priorities that suit them. Leadership, however, is about representing the whole country. I don’t see that in this budget. That’s why this business owner does not support it.

18 likes

Category: Ethics · Social responsibility

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peter // Aug 8, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    I’m concerned by the anti-abortion and religious views held by a number of conservative politicians. I can’t believe how backward and stuck in the 1950’s many of them seem to be. I’ve voted liberal in the past, not anymore.

    6 likes

  • 2 rick // Aug 8, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    There are no leaders in any political party at the moment, it’s a disgrace and I fear for our future.

    6 likes

  • 3 Warrick // Aug 8, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    These idiots said the carbon tax would be abolished and electricity would become cheaper, so why did I get a letter from my electricity provider saying our power bill will be increasing. TOTAL KNOBS..

    6 likes

  • 4 David @ Angle Vale Newsagency // Aug 8, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Hear Hear Mark. More power to your pen (stylus).

    They are simply trying to perpetuate the lie that Labor breaks the budget and Liberals repair it.

    Abolish the tax breaks on Super for high income earners, forget the PPL for the rich and put those $ to childcare and education and half the so called problem is fixed.

    A lot of my customers work for GM-H and ASC and they are fearful of their future.

    And why, oh why, do they still see the shining example of US Stupidity in health and education as something we should emulate?

    First strung up from a lamp post – Christopher Pyne. Closely followed by Cory Bernardi.

    .

    7 likes

  • 5 James // Aug 8, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    Im sorry Mark, I simply cant agree with your comments in relation to debt and deficit. Comparing us to anyone else in the OECD is simply comparing us to the worst levels of government indebtedness in history barring times of war.

    As a small business owner you would appreciate that lenders are comfortable with debt whilst repayments are being made. They take an entirely different view point when the repayments stop. All that the recent mild recovery has meant is that governments have been able to reduce the size of their annual deficit and make their interest payments. The debts themselves arent actually going down. There are any number of reports that indicate that the debts accumulated by western economies in the last 30 years will simply never be repaid.

    In the very best times of Australian government surpluses they stretched to $10B. $600B looks an awfully long way off when the interest bill is $20 Billion a year. Particularly if we hit an economic hurdle somewhere in the next 20 years. The cupboard is bare and there is nowhere to go.

    My great fear for my children is not that the climate will destroy mankind, but they will experience economic hardship to levels not known since my parents were young. All because of the cultural shift over the last 30 years to a view that too much debt is barely enough. I reckon its a house of cards and at some point a bank somewhere will pull out the crucial card, and then watch the stampede for the exits.

    You will have to explain the dog whistle on the co payment because its not obvious. The simple reality is that Medicare is unsustainable in its current form. Public Health costs twice what the medicare levy raises so the money has to come from somewhere. Agree that putting it into medical research is ridiculous.

    On the paid parental leave thing, again agree its unnecessary in the current climate. However Id like to see public servants and ABC staff rejecting their paid parental schemes which they collect in addition to Labours government funded allowance, just to make the rest of us feel better.

    Too much government, spending too much, on non beneficial hand outs.

    yours truly, the new underclass of the Australian economy, the independent small business owner.

    9 likes

  • 6 Jarryd Moore // Aug 9, 2014 at 12:56 AM

    James,

    For a look at the long term trend of public debt in Australia take a look at the graphs in this article – http://theconversation.com/the-truth-behind-our-dangerous-public-debt-levels-13245

    People should be concerned about the amount of private debt held by Australians, not the small amount of public debt we have.

    If you pay off debt too quickly by spending significantly less then that money gets taken out of the economy and you get a downturn. This in itself would hind the ability to repay debt.

    Absolutely, the money to pay for a public healthcare system has to come from somewhere. A $7 fee is not going to do that. It is nothing more than a stepping stone to a more privitised, user-pays, healthcare system that disadvantages the sick and low socioeconomic demographics. Any flat tax is highly regressive.

    The idea that there is “too much government” is unfounded. Australia has what is considered one of the most effectively targeted welfare systems in the world. This is largely because of extensive means testing that, while creating additional administrative costs, ensures that wealth is redistributed to those who most need it.

    4 likes

  • 7 Garry // Aug 9, 2014 at 6:26 AM

    Someone has to pay the debt back and I guess it will be our children and grandchildren.

    0 likes

  • 8 Garry // Aug 9, 2014 at 6:26 AM

    Someone has to pay the debt back and I guess it will be our children and grandchildren.

    0 likes

  • 9 Mark Fletcher // Aug 9, 2014 at 6:51 AM

    James, on the issue of debt: inside and outside governments, economists inside and outside inside economic think tanks … that all take the opposite view of you.

    Economies prosper when all contributors are encouraged to actively participate.

    This budget disincentives those most vulnerable and those at the bottom of the food chain. Governments in Australia for decades have pandered to big business with more handouts, more tax breaks and more attention than the value they deliver economically. This is where a liberal government should focus its attention if it is a Liberal government.

    Big business rewards right wing political support by fleeing their tax obligation here. Indeed, if big business paid the same actual rate of tax small business pays there would be no deficit.

    But back to the topic at hand: my view that the budget is based on a lie remains my view.

    I appreciate that there are different views on this. Comments here are unmoderated any anyone is welcome to express them. Thankfully, we’re in a country where we can do this.

    6 likes

  • 10 John Kirkham // Aug 9, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    Mark, on your blog, I’d stay away from anything political, until you are prepared to lobby professionally. FYI, modern politics today is not what you think it should/use to stand for.

    So you can bleat on about citing this quote/think-tank/economist whatever, in fact any of you can… to justify a critique within a politically mindset. You miss what it really is about. Parties serve corporate masters first, welfare recipients last.

    Would you really be bothered with it all if you knew for sure that there exist, people going through the motions or ‘act’ as elected members, when that system was co-opted a long time ago?…

    2 likes

  • 11 Mark Fletcher // Aug 9, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    John the more people who voice their opinions the better in my view. There are many political issues on which I do not comment here, the vast majority in fact. This one piqued my interest because Joe Hockey specifically complained at the lack of support from business.

    I connected Joe Hockey with what I wrote through Twitter to give him an opportunity to engage if he is interested.

    3 likes

  • 12 David @ Angle Vale Newsagency // Aug 9, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    Not only has Hockey been blaming business for rejecting his destructive budget, he has also been in NZ spruiking the strength of the Oz economy.

    So, did he lie in NZ or is he lying here?

    5 likes

  • 13 Bruce // Aug 9, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    I am very disappointed with the coalition govt so far. They have failed to inspire confidence which is mainly what we need. BUT I don’t want to go back to Labour either. Or PUP.

    2 likes

  • 14 Rick // Aug 10, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    My main concern about govt debt is what we have to show for it, or lack of. So much has just been pissed up against the wall. If I run up debt, I’m responsible, if govt runs up debt, the country is responsible, not the individual politicians involved so what do they care if it goes pear shaped, they just shrug their shoulders and attach themselves to the public teat in retirement. wish i could just pass on my debt to whoever buys my business next

    1 likes

  • 15 Florence Howarth // Aug 10, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    If our descendants, down the track find things hard, it will not be debt that concerns them.

    it will be because we are too mean and miserable o invest ion this wonderful nation of ours

    It will be the lack of the technology of now and future, that is fibre to the home.

    It will be because we refuse to invest in education and skill training, to produce the workforce of the future.

    Because we turned out back on such things as Gonski.

    It will be because, we alone in the world is still relying on coal while the world has moved onto the cheaper and more efficient power, generated by renewals.

    They will look around at the roads that Abbott has built, and ask why. That is if he actually girts around to building any.

    Any business out there, that does not invest for the future, will quickly disappear. Any business that does not adapt to this modern global world, will sink into the ether.

    Yes, one can call it debt. Sensible people call it investing in out nations future, so those whop come next can thrive.

    The answers can be found in Gonski, NBNCo, CEF and maintaining Medicare and welfare system.

    Yes, adjustments always need to be made, as circumstance change, but whole sale demolition, with nothing to replace what we have, is wasteful and criminal.

    Yes invest we must.

    4 likes

  • 16 h // Aug 11, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Mark, I hope you have also connected with Bruce Bilson , since most of us are small businesses. Big business is retty able to look after itself, in fact it is probably running the government.

    0 likes

  • 17 h // Aug 11, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Mark, I hope you have also connected with Bruce Bilson , since most of us are small businesses. Big business is pretty able to look after itself, in fact it is probably running the government.

    0 likes

  • 18 June // Aug 11, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Florence I know I like you.
    I am nearly 70 and it appals me when I see
    the decisions being made by both parties and the lack of investment in this country (especially in SA which is my state).
    I believe in this country and I believe in its future but we need people with vision (statesmen) and they are few on the ground.
    I think both the major parties are at fault.
    They have allowed personalities to run parties instead of good old fashioned judgement and the personalities private lives, while somewhat titillating, have no place in the running of the country.
    I also blame the media for their short term
    24 hour cycle which means that they cut someone down today and forget them tomorrow.
    It is not good for this country.
    However, one of my customers just left after buying a pink bunny and a lovely card for a newborn and when she left I thought the world was ok because a new baby had just arrived.
    I hope I always think that way.

    2 likes

  • 19 Jarryd Moore // Aug 11, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Rick,

    What we have to show for our public debt is a society with incredibly high standards of living and an economy that weathered the GFC comparatively unscathed.

    The money borrowed was not “pissed up the wall”. It was directed into targeted spending to prevent recession.

    0 likes

  • 20 rick // Aug 11, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Like the pink batts and BER? Give me a break, they should have been building new dams, not for water for the cities, but opening up rural Australia with irrigation schemes and hydro power, improved transport infrastructure and worked on decentralising to regional and rural Australia. Not allowing boatloads of economic refugees into the country to tap into our free legal and welfare systems.
    Our incredibly high standard of living cannot last on borrowed money, will have to pay the credit card off somehow, can’t see how we have invested wisely to reap the returns to pay off that debt. Each to their own, we are allowed that in this country, and that needs to be respected and remembered by all those that live here

    3 likes

  • 21 Mark Fletcher // Aug 11, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Rick successive governments have failed to invest in the type of infrastructure Australia needs.

    Had we not squandered the mining realties in the mid 1990s through to the id 2000s we’d be far better off today.

    1 likes

  • 22 rick // Aug 11, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    No question about that, just goes back to my original comment, we are missing any kind of talent or leadership in aust politics, you just have to look at what low opinion the general public has in all politicians, just above used cat salesmen, apologies to used car salesmen :)

    0 likes

  • 23 Jarryd Moore // Aug 11, 2014 at 11:53 PM

    Rick,

    Absolutely, I agree that there have been successive failures in investment in infrastructure – the NBN being the notable exception.

    Agriculture is not the future of Australia. The tertiary sector is where the vast majority of our future economic growth will come. Population decentralisation creates inefficiency.

    There is no evidence that people arriving by boat are solely economic refugees. Regardless, we’re one of the wealthiest countries in the world and the cost of resettling people in Australia is a pittance of our total government expenditure.

    People mistake initiatives like Pink Bats and the BER as infrastructure investment programs. They were never designed to have this as their primary aim. They were purposely intended to stimulate the economy in the short run. For the stimulation to work as intended it needed to happen quickly, hence why larger long term projects were never an alternative.

    Our borrowed money is largely a problem of decreased revenue resulting from a downturn in certain sectors and tax rates too low to support the level of spending that we require to maintain such high standards.

    As Mark indicates the revenue from the mining boom should have sustained us well past the GFC – instead it was squandered through poorly targeted welfare and tax cuts.

    0 likes

  • 24 Jack // Aug 12, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    Aaaaaand we’re back at the nbn and boat people.

    0 likes

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